Evaluation: Comparing Against National Data

Yesterday we talked about comparing our end of year report numbers to last year’s data and between schools and districts.

What about comparing your data to national data?

Graph by nDevilTV

In the spring of 2008, many of you contributed to my dissertation study focusing on videoconference coordinators and the use of videoconference in K12 schools.

When you look at your end of year data, it might be useful to compare it to the data from this study.

Three measures

There are three ways to measure your videoconferences to compare against this data:

  • Total videoconference events (professional development, meetings, and student events, excluding daily courses) divided by the number of students times 100 to get a whole number.
    (Total events / #students * 100)
  • Total student events (projects, collaborations, content providers, etc; excluding daily courses) divided by the number of students times 100 to get a whole number.
    (Student events / #students * 100)
  • Percent of teachers using videoconferencing.
    (#Teachers who used VC / total#teachers)
  • You can add a fourth by adding these measures together.

Comparison Data

In my dissertation study (277 respondents from six countries and 31 U.S. states), the utilization statistics were:

  • Total events/# of students *100: ranged from 0 to 60 with a mean of 4.
  • Student events/# of students: ranged from 0 to 67 with a mean of 4.
  • Percentage of teachers using videoconferencing: ranged from 0 to 100% with a mean of 26%.
  • Total Utilization Score: The three added together: ranged from 0 to 180 with a mean of 35.

So, you can aim for the mean, or you can aim for the highest range. Either way it will give you a feel for how your program is doing in comparison with the respondents to my research study.

Sample Analysis

For the fun of it, I took the data from one of my high use elementary schools. This was a 2nd-3rd grade building with 16 regular classroom teachers. They did 63 VCs this year.

  • Total events: 63/404 students *100 = 15.6
  • Student events: the same. No PD or meetings this year. 15.6
  • Percent of teachers using VC: 14/16 of the regular classroom teachers used VC: 87.5%
  • Total Utilization Score: 118.7 (which is nicely higher than the mean of 35; but not quite as high as the top 180 score in my study).

On the other hand, I have a couple schools who didn’t use it at all this year. So don’t think that all is rosy and perfect in my corner of the world!

What do you think? Is this a fair comparison? Does it weight the percent of teachers using it too much? How does your school compare? How would you measure total utilization?

(and don’t forget, I’m not counting daily full length shared classes because they skew the data)….

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